Collecting Uteruses—the American Way

A new post at El Paso News

By Donna Snyder, Artwork Courtesy of Alfonso Valenzuela

The claims by ICE detainees of trauma by hysterectomies[i] without informed consent is horrifying but sadly not shocking. Throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries, unethical physicians and governmental agencies have conditioned health care or other benefits on acceptance of sterilization, have performed these surgeries during childbirth without knowledge or consent, have conditioned receipt of government entitlements on forcible acquiescence[ii], and have even experimented on Black women by performing hysterectomies without anesthesia[iii]. The victims of these horrific acts have been Black women, indigenous women[iv], other women of color, disabled[v] women, and poor White women. The history[vi] is gruesome[vii] and I will list just a few of many links below should you want to read some of the record yourself to grasp the truth of my statement.

I learned about this history…

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Sadly timely again: Two poems previously published in the Malpais Review

Reconquista

From the painting “Matriarchal v. Patriarchal” and other art of Alfonso Valenzuela

1.

A white angel eviscerates a woman the color of terracotta, an indigenous woman sterilized by a blue-eyed doctor, who forgot his oath to do no harm.

The politics of sterilization of los Indigenas, Latinas, Black Americans, and poor White women, raged well into the 1980’s, when almost 70% of Puerto Riqueñas in New Jersey had been sterilized.  In the South, poor Black and White women faced the loss of food stamps if they did not agree to surgical excision of their ability to give birth.  And in the Southwest, Indian Health Service doctors sterilized women without notice, much less informed, uncompelled consent.

There is a forgotten arm of the movement for reproductive rights, the right to choose to not give birth mirrored by the right to choose to do so, to expand a culture through flesh and blood rather than conquest, giving birth a direct rebuke to eugenics.

The artist captures all this history in a single canvas, its telling title, “Matriarchal v. Patriarchal,” a silent scream for the mutilation of a dark woman’s body beneath the chubby white cheeks and wings of a Rococo angel with blood on his hands.

2.

Let the banners be raised.  Coatlicue’s skirt of serpents sways on her heavy hips.  Rigoberta Menchu’s face rises above a goddess body, a Pre-Columbian sphinx who saw the massacre of her people.  When will the quetzal wings bring back the fair one, he who tricked the heavens to give the people word and song?  When will the Jaguar’s roar unleash the trees to dance to drum and flute?

3.

Today a dog chained to a fence died in San Elizario.  Let us pray for our sins. Let us pray that Tlaloc hears our sorrow and brings down the rains once more.  Let all creatures eat and drink and move freely about creation.

All people together.

Not one above the other.

All people free to choose.


The Ollin Marks the Spot

from the art of Alfonso Valenzuela, with many thanks

From Tlaloc to hydroponics
What’s new is old
What’s old is cutting edge
Feed the masses
even with all the earth paved
The rainforest guardians killed by rubber barons
The Turkish park turned into a parking lot
Paradise lost to concrete and poisoned air

But Tlaloc knows the secret to survival,
food stuff grown from water-fed roots
And Ehecatl whispers secrets into the future’s ear,
harness the wind and his power shall set us free
No more need for non-renewable resources
Hehecatl will never die
And Tonatiuh atones for blood sacrifices,
his rays converted to solar power to light our way
The ancient secrets an old map painted over
Three heads emerge from a giant cake
See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil
The beauty of the Earth’s potential captured in icons
The workers’ hands
once, now, and forever
the source of all bounty
despite their lives of strife
The ollin[1] marks the spot
Two arms like a cross or an X
A day for movement
A day for the purified heart
When humans can see what they are becoming
A good day for change that “arrives like an earthquake”
Leaving behind “the ruins of rationality, order,
and preconceived” thought

[1] Ollin is one of the twenty days comprising each of the eighteen months of the Aztec year, as detailed in the great Sun Stone or Aztec Calendar.  Roughly in the shape of an X, Ollin represents movement, “an auspicious day for the active principle. . . .  A good day for transmutation, which arrives like an earthquake that leaves in its wake the ruins of rationality, order and the preconceived.”  Aztec Calendar Day Sign Ollin  http://www.azteccalendar.com/day/Ollin.html

Malpais Review

Please help get supplies for fighting the pandemic to Navajo Country.

My friend Carl Allen Begay is gathering essential supplies, face masks, gloves, face shields, hospital gowns, fabric, food and cleaning supplies to take to the Navajo and Hopi Reservation for COVID19 relief. They are especially seeking fabric and face mask donations and as many as possible. Please contact him for more information.

He has plenty of room for bulk donations: Carl Allen Begay 2225 E Lockett Rd Flagstaff Arizona 86004 for masks and other donations. Checks can be made out to Karen Begay 2225 E Lockett Rd Flagstaff Az 86004.

They’re using any collected funds for gas money. Mr Begay takes supplies and PPE to the Navajo and Hopi Reservations.

His daughter is collecting gas money thru her pay pal. This was set up for their tour business but they wont be doing tours for a long time. Any donations will be specifically used to address the pandemic which is rampaging through Navajo Country. She is on PayPal as KBegayToursAZ.

If you cannot donate please keep spreading the word.

Mr. Begay is on Facebook at 41078790_10156580786299909_365018133636841472_oCarl Begay on Facebook

Fallen Lilies, by PD Lyons Poetry

A contagious peace from our friend in Ireland…

Pdlyons's Explorations

Fallen Lilies

We will surround you with silence

Like the voices of our children never to be heard again

We will surround you with fallen lilies

Like each of one our children cut mid bloom

We won’t ever know what to do

With a hypocrite’s thoughts and prayers

We won’t ever find anything

In a hypocrite’s concern for  grief

But we’ll not match the hardness of such hearts

By hardening our own

We will not meet such hearts with violence

We know too well that path of sorrow

So, we will meet you in silence

Like the voices of our children never to be heard again

We will meet you in fallen lilies

Like each one of our children cut mid bloom

Unlike you

We will do what must be done

Unlike you

We will remember and continue to find days to be thankful for

Mothers rocking babies rocking mothers

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a shining steady chorus of Ah! by PD Lyons Poetry

From my friend pd lyons to bring down your stress levels

Pdlyons's Explorations

sometimes

i just let the day go 

awareness, not of the passing

but of the being.

not moments, minutes, hours

but seeing, hearing, feeling

tasting, smelling, thinking.

free of linear, lists, concept, naming,

ever thing, any thing.

a true knowing

a shining quiet steady chorus of Ah…

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Excerpt: Forward from ‘The Vanishing Poet,’ Upcoming from Michael Aaron Casares

Pointed and an always timely reminder.

Virgogray Press

We are conscious energy. We are energy having a ‘human’ experience. Everything is energy, condensed wavelengths or particles determining how heavy or how light the energy. Energy that pulses with vibration, low or high, negative or positive, does not die, it changes. And the first, and possibly the most important, task on our to-do list:

To remember.

Once we’ve remembered, everything else begins to fall into place in fulfillment with the divine contracts, the promises, we made to ourselves before setting out on this journey. And everyone, every bit of aware energy, has a purpose; and the purpose is different for everybody. Whether the gatekeeper to an invaluable innovation, whether to learn from the lessons of transgression, or to be a cog in the wheel, we all have individual purpose. We all have choice. We have autonomy. It is up to us to choose if the sun will set in…

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Degenerate Art in the Time of Facebook

My post on Facebook jail at El Paso News

The El Paso News is committed to freedom of expression.  Such venues as this blog are more important today than they were just a few years ago, as social networking platforms become more censorious than a small town’s watchdogs on the contents of libraries.

Around 3:00 am, a fit of insomnia had me hanging out on Facebook reading poetry and news.  As I attempted to share a post about Harper Lee, I was suddenly unable to add a comment crediting the source of the link.  Immediately a screen flashed up, informing me that I am banned from unspecified actions in Facebook.

Capture+_2020-02-20-03-13-07

I clicked on “let us know” and was informed that such actions had to be taken “to keep Facebook safe.”

Capture+_2020-02-20-09-50-42

Despite the unabashed admission Facebook does not read such responses, I filled in my complaint that their action was nuts considering I had just shared a post about Harper…

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Medusa Is My Avatar

My poem Medusa Is My Avatar in El Paso News

Medusa on BigTree, MoonCourt, Blue Mountains – Photo by Glenys Livingstone

Medusa on BigTree, MoonCourt, Blue Mountains close up glenysMedusa is my avatar

Her moon mouth opened in a scream, whether in agony or passion is hard to discern.

The stone face is pocked with marks caused by the process of becoming.

Brows writhe in rhythm with the mass of unbrushed hair.

This is a face that turned small men to stone, so terrifying her gaze and howling mouth that they were forced to kill her.

Yet even severed from her soured body, her head lives. Not as a trophy, but as a scourge.

by Donna Snyder

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